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Book Review: Driftworld Atlas, by L. Bell

I accepted a review copy of L. Bell‘s Driftworld Atlas through Love Books Tours.

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Like snowflakes in a snow globe, the worlds drift across creation. And, recording their tales, is the Driftworld Atlas.

When an eternal traveler finally awakens, he does so in a world that has been shattered to ash. Creation has been stained by a crime, and while his jumbled memories provide no answers, a single note is left to guide him forward. “Let’s drink, come find me.”

But to follow this message, he has to get help, from a witch who knows how to read the sea, trapped in a prison of her own making. The problem? Clearly his old habits, for why shouldn’t he take in the demon needing his soul he found along the way? When unlikely connections emerge from the sea, threatening to put his search to an early end, the answer is simple. Because his biggest obstacle has always been himself – and old enemies don’t wait.

my review

This is one of those reviews that I just don’t really know what to do with. Sure the writing is mechanically competent and I don’t remember too many editing mishaps. So, it’s over all readable. But the simple fact of the matter is I’ve finished it and still have to admit that I just don’t get it. I don’t know what the plot was supposed to actually be, if it was accomplished, if there was a theme, etc.

Sure, the whole thing occasionally achieved a Monty Python-esque randomness and I chuckled a time or two toward the end. But mostly I just read the whole thing waiting for it to come together in any manner, and don’t feel like it ever did. My overall impression is of an author trying to be too clever and sacrificing their plot to the effort.

All in all, it was a bit of a flop for me. But maybe someone readers will understand it better than I did and enjoy it more.

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Other Reviews:

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Book Review: Dancing With the Devil, by Gayatri R.

I accepted a review copy of Dancing With the Devil, by Gayatri R./Gayatri Ramchandran. It was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight.
dancing with the devil cover

Corvo:
They didn’t call me “The Raven” for no reason.
I’m known for being ruthless, lethal, and dangerously magnetic. I’m a shadow, the monster pirouetting in the dark. I’m feared yet loved by all, and the entire city surrenders to my name as I rule them with an iron fist.
People always look both ways before crossing me.
Until Bianca Romano turned my life into a storm with just a single glance.
She became mine to keep.
My obsession.
My beautiful temptation.
I broke my rules for her, but that doesn’t mean she can control me.
She’s staying, and she wants to play my game.
But I’ll show her exactly who’s in control.

Bianca:
They call him “The Raven.”
Legend has it that if you look at him, there’s no going back. But I bent my rules for him, and now I’m his, with no way out.
Corvo De La Rossi isn’t the monster he claims to be.
Because I know underneath that brutal exterior lies a lot of pain.
If he’s the monster, the beast in this fairytale, then I’m the beauty who will put back the broken, lost pieces of him-the one who will tame him.

my review

I am in a really, really awkward place reviewing this book. So, I’m just going to lay it on the table. I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. And often ARCs come to reviewers before they’ve had their final editing pass. So, it’s not uncommon to find the occasional editing mishap. I’m used to that. We look over them. But Dancing With the Devil seemed to have come to me before it had any editing, despite releasing only days after I read it. The file I read was really quite rough. I would have DNFed it if I hadn’t been committed to the review.

I normally wouldn’t talk about this in a public review. It, of course, isn’t pertinent to those purchasing or reading the book after it’s had further editing. Presuming it does; we reviewers generally take it on faith that the books will get that additional, final pass. But I feel like I have to mention it here, because I’m not wholly able to disentangle how much of my dislike for the book was because of how unpleasant and uncomfortable it was to actually read and how much was not liking the actual story and writing style itself. Do you see my difficulty? I don’t think I can fairly review it without including this note on a possible conflict.

At the end of the day, I gave this a 1-star. I might have been willing to grant it an extra star if I had a dancing with the devil photocleaner copy and knew some of the over-inflated dialogue was toned down and smoothed out. But I don’t think it ever would have been a real winner. Raven talks in catch-phrases, monologues like a super villain pretty much constantly. The plot judders along inconsistently. I was never even wholly able to decide if Raven’s demonic descriptions were meant to suggest he physically had a demonic form or was just poetic license, on the author’s part. (So, I literally don’t know if this is a paranormal or contemporary book AND I’VE FINISHED IT.)

All in all, the best I can maybe say for Gayatri R.’s Dancing With the Devil is that I finished it.


Other Reviews:

Dancing With the Devil

Cheryl’s Booknook: Book Review Dancing With the Devil

 

 

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Book Review: The Rush, by Si Spurrier

I accepted a review copy of The Rush, by Si Spurrier (Author), Addison Duke (Colorist), Nathan C.
Gooden (Illustrations), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Letterer), Adrian F. Wassel (Editor). It was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for further information on the author and illustrator(s), the tour schedule, a guest post, and chance to win a copy of your own.

ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD.
ALL THAT HUNGERS IS NOT HOLY.
ALL THAT LIVE ARE NOT ALIVE.

This Hungry Earth Reddens Under Snowclad Hills.

1899, Yukon Territory. A frozen frontier, bloodied and bruised by the last
great Gold Rush. But in the lawless wastes to the North, something whispers in
the hindbrains of men, drawing them to a blighted valley, where giant
spidertracks mark the snow and impossible guns roar in the night.

To Brokehoof, where gold and blood are mined alike. Now, stumbling towards its
haunted forests comes a woman gripped not by greed — but the snarling rage of
a mother in search of her child…

my review

I’ll admit that in the beginning of this graphic novel I wasn’t certain I’d like it. I liked the art from page one. But the plot and letter-writing narrative-style took me a little bit longer to come around to. But by the end I was fully invested and enjoyed it. Nettie was just the kind of bronze-balled bitch with a mission that I appreciate. There’s symbolism, sacrifice, and a moral to the story.

Admittedly, the obsessive love of a mother for her son is a little cliched as a plot device and I might have like to understand a bit more of the hows, whys, and what nows of the whole situation. But I don’t know that there would have been an elegant way to include it. So, I can’t really complain on that front. All in all, I’d be happy to read more by this team.

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Other Reviews:

The Real World According to Sam: The Rush